The narcissist demands 2 out of 3 Ss from his "intimate" partner in the shared fantasy: sex, supply (narcissistic and sadistic), and services.
But he also expects the E2A: unmitigated exclusivity, adulation, and availability. If the partner denies him any of these three, he devalues and discards her. Henceforth he absents himself from the relationship, either physically or emotionally.
The compensatory cerebral narcissist is the only exception. He demands only supply and services and expects only total adulation and availability.
His lengthy bouts of celibacy are the trenchant outcomes of egregious self-punishment grounded in fathomless self-hatred and a misogyny or misandry couched in ideological terms of grandiose superiority.
Among the nonsensical myths about narcissism is the trope that grandiosity is about perfection: being the greatest and the best. It is not.
Grandiosity is a set of psychological defenses founded on cognitive biases and an impaired reality testing. Its main function is to uphold and buttress a distorted fantasy self-perception or counterfactual self-image.
But this self-image (the locus of fantastic grandiosity) can be negative! A narcissist can be proud of what a consummate failure or loser he is, or how humble or downtrodden, mistreated and virtuous, whorish or unattractive he is and so on. The perfect (insert the denigrating adjective).
In these cases, the grandiosity will be invested in negative automatic thoughts and serve to aggressively defend them against challenges and countervailing information from the outside.
One of the most common exclamations of the promiscuous or otherwise dysregulated Borderline: “Now I want to settle down and have a stable, lifelong love relationship.”
Healthy folks transition through phases in life, evolve, grow and develop in a linear, predictable fashion. Not so the Borderline: she cycles between beliefs, behavioral norms, preferences, priorities, and fervent wishes. There is no stable or foreseeable core. This is known as “identity disturbance”.
So, the Borderline’s sudden adherence to prudery and domesticity is a self-deluding sham, a fantasy, an experiment: she is likely to revert to an earlier, promiscuous, unboundaried, decompensated, and dysregulated form and recurrently pendulate between several mutually exclusive self-states.
Habitual cheaters are masters of evasion and obfuscation. Two of their favorite self-justifying refrains:
1. “The relationship had been already dead when I cheated”.
Relationships can be either on or off, nothing else. As long as a dyad is on, it is very much alive. Behaving as if the relationship were off when it is actually on is deception and betrayal at their ugliest and most extreme. Doing it time and again is highly narcissistic and borders on psychopathy.
2. “The relationship was sexless, I wasn’t getting what I needed, so I cheated”.
In the majority of cases, this is a lie: the other partner is attempting to have sex, or the sex is merely unsatisfactory. In many cases, the cheaters are the ones who undermine the sex with passive-aggressive behaviors or by rejecting the partner.
Only in a vanishingly minuscule number of instances, known as “sex aversion”, is sex utterly absent.
Even then, the only right thing to do is to negotiate an open relationship and, failing that, walk away.
Once promiscuous, always promiscuous? Once a cheater, always a cheater? In a relationship with a promiscuous partner, they will always cheat on you? They can’t help it: it’s an addiction to sexual attention? Are all these statements true? Yes, they are, according to all the studies we have.
As the author and therapist Kerry Cohen observes, promiscuity (“loose girl syndrome”) is a lifelong condition which is often associated with mental illness and substance abuse.
But where the literature fails is in making the distinction between formative and situational promiscuity.
Formative promiscuity is the learned use of sexual attention to regulate negative moods and affects. It is a form of self-soothing and an attempt to reassert control over a life perceived as adrift and meaningless. In some respects, it is the same psychodynamic that drives the narcissist's solicitation of narcissistic supply.
Formative promiscuity is a process addiction (to an activity, not to a substance) which starts in early adolescence, persists throughout the lifespan, and characterizes all interactions with potential sex partners, regardless of the promiscuous person’s life circumstances at the moment.
Situational promiscuity is a reaction to trauma, most commonly to rejection, neglect, and abandonment by a loved one. It is limited in time and responsive to overcoming grief and depression.
Situational promiscuity also disappears once the circumstances change - for example when a new love interest emerges.
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